Furniture and Product Design Basics

With the plethora of theories on design, determining good design is not easy.

Be it product design or even interior design, all designers grapple with the following questions:

What is the function and who will use it?

In good product design, the first questions asked concern the product's function and its user. Despite the intriguing form and the polished cast aluminum, Philippe Starck's lemon squeezer Juicy Salif provoked criticism, because it does not separate the lemon pulp and pips from the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The Bourdaloue, an oval chamber pot for women, allegedly named for the Jesuit priest Père Louis Bourdaloue and the results of his lengthy sermons, is now obsolete. Nonetheless, it is an example of excellent design, as women's specific needs are taken into account. Marcel Wander's Container Table is manufactured under high pressure and at high temperatures so it can be used indoors and outdoors; its base can be filled with sand or water for additional stability. Good design is always functional.

What materials are used? Are they well adapted to the function? Are they visually appealing and of superior quality?

Some designers prefer to work with only one medium, such as wood or glass. Others enjoy mixing and matching. What you should focus on is to what extent high-quality materials are used and whether these materials are well-suited to the function. Good design requires high-quality materials.

Once finished, what is the visual effect and how does it make you feel? Has a sense of harmonious balance been achieved?

One of our designers once told us of an experiment she underwent with her fellow designers. In order to fully internalize the effect of different colors, they secluded themselves for three months and spent each week dedicated to a different color. One week they lived in rooms painted red, used red furniture, wore red clothes and ate red food; the next week they did the same in yellow, and so forth. To this day, she shudders when she thinks of the week they spent immersed in dark blue - after the fourth day, full-blown depression set in and the entire group truly

Ultimately, too much of anything is bound to be unsettling, whether we're talking about color, style, material or geometric shapes. Designers often attempt to reduce the complex to the simple. Good design strives for simple elegance and a harmonious balance.